Striking SEIU workers intentionally endangered Conn. nursing home patients, says company

After the collapse of 17-month-long union negotiations on July 3, unionized health-care workers walked out of five nursing home facilities in Connecticut, but not before placing some elderly patients in dire medical risk through acts of sabotage, according to the company that owns and operates the facilities.

“In the hours leading up to the strike by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU (the Union) against five HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers in Connecticut, Union members engaged in multiple illegal and dangerous acts against Center residents,” reads a statement released by HealthBridge on Tuesday afternoon.

According to police reports obtained by The Daily Caller and reported Monday by the RedState blog, HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers alleged that union employees in at least three of its facilities intentionally mixed up or removed patient name plates, photos, medical bracelets and dietary advisories as they began their strike. Additionally, the police reports include allegations of both vandalism and larceny.

A July 3 police report from the Danbury Health Care Center in Danbury, Conn., states that “between the hours of 2300 [11:00 pm] on 7/2/12 and 0700 [7:00 am]  today, 7/3/12, there were several incidents that directly affected and potentially could have negatively impacted patient care.”

“The incidents ranged from clean linens being thrown on the floor to more serious incidents whereby patients’ identification wrist bands were removed as well as patient identifiers on room doors and wheelchairs.”

“There are no suspects,” the report continues, but “the persons involved are presumed to be employees who are part of a protest taking place outside outside against the Danbury Health Care Center.”

At the Newington Health Care Center, in Newington, Conn., police reported that “several items were discovered missing,” including six handles used to operate patient lifts for individuals with mobility problems. Several stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs were also reported missing.

The police report states that “prior to the employee labor strike … the name tags on the patient’s doors for the Alzheimer’s ward were mixed up. The photos attached to the medical records for these patients were removed further complicating, but not making impossible the identification of the patients.”

“Also, dietary blue stickers affixed to the door name tags were removed,” the report continued. A source with knowledge of HealthBridge’s operations told TheDC that those stickers identify residents that have dysphagia, or trouble swallowing. Those patients have special dietary restrictions to prevent them from choking.

In Stamford, Conn., a police report showed that the glass door on an industrial front-loading washing machine was smashed in at the Long Ridge of Stamford facility.

Reached for comment about the allegations and incidents, District 1199 SEIU spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff said she was unaware of any union employee being involved.

“There’s been no investigation that I’m aware of,” Chernoff told TheDC. “We don’t know anything about them other than what’s been posted on RedState.”

“If there’s anything to these reports, we expect them to be investigated by proper authorities,” she continued. “But we don’t know that there’s any substance to them [the allegations]. We have no reason to think so, other than what comes out of HealthBridge, and they have no credibility with us.”

HealthBridge’s Tuesday statement claims that when it reached out to the office of state Attorney General George Jepsen, a Democrat, they were turned away and told to speak with local law enforcement.